One of the most gratifying aspects of going to Pitti Fragranze year after year is watching things grow. Brands, fragrances, people, ideas, and trends. Held in Florence every September, Pitti Fragranze, an international artistic perfumery trade fair, brings together all that is fine in the artistic perfumery sector.
This year one of the most exciting experiences for me was witnessing the launch of Map of the Heart, bold in concept and design, and rich with three different juices: ‘Clear Heart’, ‘Red Heart’, and ‘Black Heart’.
A year ago, Map of the Heart’s founder, Sarah Blair, was not exhibiting, but rather observing, taking notes, amassing advice from trusted heavyweights in the industry, and visibly yearning for the moment Map of the Heart would see the light of day. In the kaleidoscope of memory I remember watching her, and I especially remember sharing a taxi with her one evening. This was when she first showed me the bottle. She was carrying a mock-up with her right there in the taxi, daring and edgy, sized and shaped like a real human heart (and a hand-grenade), designed by Pierre Dinand. I remember the reverence of Sarah’s gesture as she removed it from her bag; the way the streetlights glinted off the crude contours of the bottle, the life-like veins and arteries; and the whites of Sarah’s eyes as she turned the bottle in her hands. “This is the edge,” I was thinking. “This is the daring, full throttle blast into darkness that separates artistic niche fragrances from the safety of mainstream.”
After that, total silence. I didn’t hear anything from Sarah until I saw her last week at Pitti 2014. I knew where she’d been. Burrowed down in that place of darkness and light, doubt and inspiration, the creative realm. And suddenly, here she was. In the real world glare and public eye of Pitti Fragranze Sarah was bursting with energy and life, and surrounded by a crack team that included her brand co-founder, the film-maker Jeffrey Darling, her award winning Givaudan perfumer, Jacques Huclier, her seasoned and well-respected sales director, Joe Garces (formerly with Robert Piguet Parfums), her Paris office marketing director, Giovanna Aicardi (formerly with YSL Parfums), and her lovely and articulate daughter, Carson (clearly, the muse for ‘Young Heart’).
With its peculiar bottle and highly contrasted fragrance line, (‘Black Heart’ is one of the darkest fragrances I know of, ‘Red Heart’’s tuberouse throbs with passion, while ‘Young Heart’ is painfully tender to the touch), Map of the Heart is destined to forever inhabit and inspire the edge. For those who dare….
Map of the Heart
9/2 Kings Lane
2010 Sydney, Australia